UC Health’s newest attending radiation oncologist is Cincinnati proud: He grew up in Fairfield, completed medical school and residency at UC and launched his professional practice with UC Health in August 2011.
, MD, says "classic reasons”—interacting with people and an interest in math, science and physics— sparked his initial interest in medicine. But it was the childhood experience of losing his uncle that compelled him to pursue a career in medicine.
"I was 13 when my uncle died, so watching the way a physician helped our family through the process of his illness really impacted me,” he recalls. "It made me want to be in a position to help people who are going through difficult times.”
After graduating from St. Xavier High School, Pater was accepted into the UC College of Medicine’s inaugural dual-admission
class, studying microbiology at Miami University and then entering medical school at UC in 2002.
There was no question of his medical specialty—he envisioned himself as a cardiologist.
As he moved through training, Pater found his interest shifting to pathology and cancer cell biology. Then during his third year of medical school, he had an experience that made it crystal clear his true calling was in oncology.
"My first clinical rotation was in gynecologic oncology. I will never forget the name and face of the first patient we took to the operating room. She went to the OR expecting to have an operation and be done with it. Within the course of a few hours we had to tell her the story was different … The ovarian cancer had spread throughout her abdominal cavity,” he recalls.
After completing medical school in 2006, he matched with UC Health University Hospital for radiation oncology residency. Now he specializes in treating patients with malignancies of the central nervous system and pediatric tumors at the Barrett Cancer Center.
"There are two parts to cancer: treating the disease and treating the person. I like that aspect of oncology because I am able to help patients when they are at their worst moment,” says Pater, who is also an assistant professor at the College of Medicine. "People bring a lot of social stigma to the table when they are facing cancer; we have to work through that with them—both medically and emotionally.”
Pater lives in Loveland with his wife, Amy, a physical therapist at University Hospital, and their two daughters, Malia, 3, and Natalie, 1.
Learn more about Pater and the entire UC Health radiation oncology team at ucphysicians.com